Without a doubt online merchandising is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. It offers convenience that is not offered by brick and mortar stores. Using the internet consumers can easily compare prices, order goods, read reviews and see products in action, without ever having to leave their home. The internet offers more information on good and services than people could ever access from inside a retail store.
Online sales on the rise
In 2012, global online sales topped $1 trillion for the first time. Sales are expected to keep growing and reach $1.298 trillion next year. Asia-Pacific has also surpassed North America in online sales, and this trend is expected to continue. However, the United States still tops the world in terms of sales, with China trailing far behind, but the gap is closing at a rapid pace. These sales are only expected to grow, which means that this industry has plenty of room for new companies. However, it also means that there is plenty of competition, so new companies will not only have to offer a good idea but a strong business plan to grow their online presence quickly.
Effect of Online Sales on Retail Stores
It is no secret that brick and mortar stores have a tough road to compete with online retailers. The best plan of attack is to incorporate online sales with their retail stores, this allows consumers the ability to research items online, compare them and then pick them up at their local store. This has an appeal to consumers because they do not have to wait for or pay for shipping. Site to store options are another way that brick and mortar stores are trying to combat the rise of eCommerce software.
There is more that needs to be done however as online sales continue to rise and brick and mortar stores see a decline. Consumers may even visit a retail store to examine a product in person and then use their mobile device to find out that they can get the product cheaper at an online retailer. Amazon even suggested that consumers visit a retail store to see products in person and try them out, and then purchase them at lower prices from the website. It is very hard to convince consumers to pay higher prices just to have an item right away or to support a local store.
Businesses that do not join the online revolution find themselves closing their doors. In 2011, Borders, a major bookseller, went out of business because of an inability to compete with online retailers. Blockbuster found itself filing for bankruptcy when it could not compete with online DVD rental services. Brick and mortar stores that cannot incorporate internet sales and marketing will not survive the internet revolution. Online merchants will also find that the brick and mortar giants like Walmart and Target are willing to put up a very hard fight to keep not only their storefronts but create a substantial online presence as well.